General Motors' Opel division has unveiled the perfect way for nervous executives to forget worries over the troubled European auto industry: a beautiful new convertible called the Cascada. Loosely based on the Opel Insignia sedan, the new Cascada is a four-seat droptop with a powered soft top than can open in just 17 seconds.
With the roof raised, the Opel Cascada casts a silhouette not dissimilar to that of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet, with a roofline that slopes down toward the tall decklid. With the top lowered, the Cascada's upswept and laser-straight chrome beltline becomes more obvious. The stubby, rounded front is almost identical to that of the Insignia sedan. At 184.9 inches long and 72.4 wide, the Opel Cascada is within spitting distance of the similarly elegant Audi A5 Cabriolet (the German convertible measures 182.1 inches long and 73.0 inches wide).
The Opel's cabin looks familiar from other cars like the Insignia, with smart materials, a clear dual-binnacle instrument cluster, and an angled center stack covered with a wide array of buttons. High-tech options include LED running and taillights, Nappa leather, a self-parking system, and a forward camera that can read traffic signs.
The car's chassis is said to be 43 percent stiffer than that of Opel's last convertible, the Astra TwinTop, while components like rack-mounted electric power steering, the torque steer-reducing HiPerStrut front suspension arrangement, and optional adaptive damping are supposed to help improve the driving experience. Buyers pick between a 1.4-liter turbo-four engine in 120-hp and 140-hp configurations, a 165-hp 2.0-liter turbodiesel, and a 170-hp 1.6-liter turbo-four. Both manual and automatic transmissions are offered with six forward speeds.
The Opel Cascada is scheduled to go on sale across Europe in early 2013, but we're hopeful it could eventually make its way to America. We've seen plenty of cross-pollination between the General Motors' Opel and Buick brands recently. The Buick Regal is essentially a rebadged Opel Insignia, and the new Opel Mokka compact crossover is almost identical to the Buick Encore. So is it feasible that a version of the Opel Cascada could join Buick's American lineup? Given that the convertible shares many parts with the Insignia, it seems reasonable to believe Buick could naturalize the Cascada.
What do you think -- would a sultry four-seat convertible make a good addition to the Buick lineup? Does the Opel Cascada deserve to be imported here, or should it stay in its European homeland? Have your say in the comments section below.